May 30, 2019
Lewis Contractors and the AIA Baltimore Historic Resources Committee were pleased to host a Hard Hat Tour of the new Port Exhibit and new SkyClimber at Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Lewis Contractors, selected as the Construction Manager for the project, is working in collaboration with Architects Cambridge Seven Associates to oversee the exhibit and climber installation. The tour of the building offered Lewis an opportunity to highlight the construction progress on the museum’s transformational exhibits and renovations. With the grand opening of Port Discovery’s new exhibits and renovations tentatively set for June of this year, the Lewis team is more than halfway complete with construction and set to finish on schedule.
This unique project will restore the spirit of Port Discovery’s original building—initially designed as a fish market in 1906 by Architects Otto Simonson and Theodore Wells Pietsch. After closing in the 1980s, several entertainment concepts were considered, to no avail. It was not until 1997 that Disney redesigned the space to become what is now known as Port Discovery Children’s Museum. The nonprofit children’s museum, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is undergoing a major reimagining, bringing two new immersive exhibits and updated amenities to its 106-year-old historic building, including replacement of aging capital equipment and upgrades/replacement of existing exhibits. This project addresses significant internal and external infrastructure issues, increases energy efficiency and adds new safety features. In addition to bringing visitors new hands-on exhibits, the Museum also wanted to improve guest experience and thus, the renovation provides more family seating areas, a new nursing area, a new lobby, a renovated lunchroom and updated restrooms.
The construction will bring visitors two new signature exhibits: the Port Exhibit and a new SkyClimber Exhibit. The Port Exhibit features an interactive multi-story ship where children can sail, navigate and engineer as they explore the seas, discover how products make their way around the world and learn about the Port of Baltimore. The Port will also offer the opportunity to load life-size cargo containers on board and discover what would happen in the event of a container falling overboard. In an effort to encourage kids to get active, problem-solve and take risks in a safe environment, the SkyClimber will encourage children to climb their way up and around a four-story SkyClimber that takes climbers from an underwater scene up into the clouds.
When Port Discovery celebrates the grand opening of the new exhibits and updated amenities in June 2019, visitors will climb to new heights on the SkyClimber and sail on the museum’s massive built-in ship. Through play, guests will gain new knowledge of the original fish market’s history as it existed in the Port of Baltimore over a century ago.